Great Plains Honors Council Recognizes Outstanding Lee College Honors Students

IMPACT Early College High School senior and Lee College Honors Program graduate Maria Gelves has won the prestigious Dennis Boe Award for a paper she wrote for the Lee College honors course, The Human Condition, taught by Jerry Hamby and Dr. Georgeann Ward. A Marxist critique of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Gelves’ paper is titled “Manifesting a ‘Biological Destiny’: Handmaids as ‘Sacred’ Instruments of Production in Gilead’s Industrial Theocracy.”

The Boe Award is determined by the Great Plains Honors Council in a highly competitive, blind judging of outstanding scholarly writing from collegiate honors programs in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

“Students learn so much from revising their work for competition and adapting their ideas for live audiences. Academic conferences and competitions like the Boe Award raise the stakes for student work and help them achieve clarity and a strong sense of purpose with their ideas,” Dr. Ward explained.

Because Gelves completed her Associate Degree in December, she entered the Boe competition for students who had earned 60+ hours of college credit, making her competition quite advanced.

In addition to winning a cash award and a plaque, Gelves will present her paper in a special session at the Great Plains Honors Council Conference at the University of Texas at Tyler in April.

Joining Gelves at the Great Plains Conference, several other Honors Program students will present papers that they wrote for the Human Condition: Marleah Downes, Dinah Lemonier, Amy Waltz-Reasonover, Ryan Lara, Noe Sanchez and Lindsey Sanford. Lara, Sanchez, and Sanford are all, like Gelves, IMPACT ECHS students.

Human Condition instructor Jerry Hamby added, “Maria is one of those students who demonstrate ever more sophisticated levels of intellectual curiosity, pushing themselves with every new assignment. She has a natural talent for writing, but, more importantly, she knows how to work for her success. Earning the Boe Award is the payoff.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee joins GGCCISD in dedicating new early college high school building

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Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown offers congratulations to the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent District at the Nov. 10, 2015, dedication ceremony for the new IMPACT Early College High School building. IMPACT students complete a rigorous program that gives them the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit simultaneously.

BAYTOWN, TX – Lee College administrators and faculty joined the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) this month for the dedication of the new building for IMPACT Early College High School, where students are able to earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit simultaneously.

“We are true community partners: Goose Creek and Lee College have the same dream and vision,” Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown said during the dedication ceremony, held Nov. 10 in the high school cafeteria.

Operated by GCCISD, IMPACT first opened in 2010 in the Advanced Technology Center at Lee College and was also housed temporarily at the Peter E. Hyland Center. Now located on Market Street, the new building was ready by the start of the 2015-16 school year. The college campus is only a short walk away and easily accessible via a path constructed across Baytown’s Bicentennial Park.

The first IMPACT graduates received their diplomas in 2014, with about half of the 89 members of the class also receiving one or more associate degrees. The Class of 2016 includes 92 students, of which 60 are expected to earn both a diploma and an associate degree in May. Lee College waives the students’ tuition and GCCISD provides their textbooks.

“It’s not the building that makes the child or the education; it’s what happens inside. It is the magic happening here and across the street,” Brown said. “Students in IMPACT Early College High School are getting a superior education, both for their high school diploma and their Lee College degree.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

NOTE: A video about the dedication event is available online at http://www.lee.edu/leetv/impact-early-college-high-school-building-dedication-2015/

 

First IMPACT Early College High School class to graduate

When IMPACT Early College High School opened its doors on the Lee College campus, no one was sure exactly what to expect — not even the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) eighth-graders who applied for admission, intrigued by the opportunity to earn a high-school diploma and two years of college credit simultaneously.

Four years later, those first students are now IMPACT seniors preparing for graduation. In addition to their diplomas, about half of the 89 members of the class of 2014 will also receive associate’s degrees Saturday, May 10, at Lee College commencement in the Sports Arena.

“This is our home. We built this. We were the pioneers,” said Azalia Sprecher, a senior who has earned three associate’s degrees from Lee College while attending IMPACT, which is operated by the GCCISD and currently located in the college Advanced Technology Center. “We hope that we’ve done enough to pass the baton to the underclassmen.”

IMPACT principal Jacquelyn Narro certainly thinks so, noting the seniors are largely self-motivated and dedicated students who have proven their ability to accomplish lofty goals. Reaching this milestone with the first graduating class speaks to the student-centered commitment shared by Goose Creek and Lee College, she said.

“They leave having had a true college experience, so that the university setting will not be a novelty to them,” Narro said. “They are also now more workforce-ready and eligible for higher-paying jobs than the average high-school graduate. It changes their earning potential and all the possibilities for their future.”

Moving forward, Narro plans to continue building enrollment at IMPACT and sharpen the focus on first-generation college students who might not otherwise have the means or opportunity to pursue a degree. Lee College waives the students’ tuition and GCCISD provides their textbooks.

The daughter of immigrants and a first-generation college student herself, Sprecher will study biochemistry at Bryn Mawr College on a full-tuition scholarship from the Posse Foundation, one of the most renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the country.

Though excited to begin her next chapter in Pennsylvania, Sprecher said it won’t be easy to leave behind the teachers and administrators who pushed her to discover her talents — or the IMPACT classmates who became more like brothers and sisters as they encouraged each other through the rigors of balancing both high school and collegiate coursework.

“A friend in one of my college courses is a single mother, and she tells her 10-year-old son that she wants him to be a great student like me,” Sprecher said. “That really makes me feel good. IMPACT was the ultimate challenge and I wanted to go after it. These past four years have been really rewarding and all the hard work has been worth it.”